Whenever we go out with friends, Brad usually ends up being teased by a few people for his money-saving tendencies. You know--ordering water when he really wants a Coke, or sticking to the sandwich section when a majority of the menu features high-priced entrees. The fact of the matter is, I'm much more of a penny-pincher than he is (despite my unfortunate taste for all things expensive), while he's always quick to let me know that he doesn't mind me splurging here and there for something I really want (being a girl has its advantages). After all, we are saving for a house, and those unnecessary receipts every Friday and Saturday night do add up. Plus, I like water, and keeping bills to a minimum lets us go out more often. Don't get me wrong--you should live your life . . . but don't spend it all in one place.

That being said, I am a notorious shopaholic. My parents have always teased me for my constant shopping escapades, and after a long day at work back in Virginia, I could often be found clacking through Target in my work heels, seeking catharsis as I looked at every single thing in the store. And that's not an exaggeration.

So, how do I afford this luxurious habit? Shopping costs money, which is something I do not usually have a ton of, seeing as I have never been a zillionaire. Simply put, you can see me on any given day browsing clearance racks and discount stores, pushing through tight aisles and giving sideways-glances to rude women who stand in front of me wherever I go. It's kind of exhausting, but finding unique trinkets and rock-bottom deals can be completely worth the craziness that comes with bargain hunting.

One thing I have to say about the metro Detroit area--the shopping selection is incredible. Take the Salvation Army, for instance. One thrift store in an area with tons of people means ten-thousand times more stuff than two second-hand shops combined where I'm from. And despite the larger variety, everything is ridiculously organized. Clothes, jewelry, cookware, baskets, furniture, you name it--everything's sorted by size, type, and even color. And believe me, the time you'll save finding exactly what you're looking for is headache-relief in itself.

If I ever lose a skillet lid, I know where to go.
IMG_1034  mug
I'm currently addicted to teacups and coffee mugs, but have too many and won't allow myself to buy any more.

Another long-time favorite? Why, Target, of course. While the bullseye-clad chain isn't usually expensive to begin with, I can't pull myself away from browsing the end caps every time I go. And thus, I continue to add to my addiction to inexpensive journals. I'll write in them one day.

I have quite a collection now. A dollar beats eight when it comes to spending, after all.
And for clothes, of course, I can't forget the magnificent TJ Maxx. I like to drool over clothing and shoes, and with a TJ Maxx in just about every town around here, I'm strongly considering taking a specific tour sometime soon to see just how much textile awesomeness I can fit into one day. Of course, not everything's cheap, per se, but I've gotta say that $40 and $50 tags on designer frocks make me feel a little closer to achieving my dream of feeling like a Manhattan socialite. It's a really good thing I have a fully-working conscience, or I'd have blown all my savings on Calvin Klein dresses by now.

I will be back for you. Yes.
Only pair. Didn't fit. Otherwise, you would be viewing this picture a little differently (i.e., my feet would be in it).

Finally, there's the Dollar Tree. Now, I know this place can be pretty unsatisfying when it comes to quality and selection, and the employees usually seem to have some sort of cough-hacking plague and/or stories about why they hate their jobs. If you look hard enough, however, you can find some fun stuff hiding on those metal shelves.

Among my recent Dollar Tree purchases--Sun dishwashing detergent, Scotch tape, and an Alice Sebold hardback.

Then, of course, there's always the matter of questionable dollar store merchandise.

First of all, can't you get Blistex for 97 cents at Wal-Mart? Secondly, I'm pretty sure I've seen multitudes of this flavor in every single Dollar Tree I've ever been to. I think they're all expired, but am kind of afraid to check.

I can't figure out which I'm feeling more: excitement, because they made these, or disgust ... because they made these.
Not in a million years could you get me to put this stuff in my hair. But if you've tried it, I'm dying to hear how it went.

Do any of you like deal-hunting as much as I do? Or are you more willing to pay a few extra bucks to avoid the hassle? I'd love to hear your stories, favorite places to shop, maneuvers, whatever . . . lay it on me. And if you have any suggestions for new places to try, let me know! I know there's lots more stuff hiding out there.